Hello, hello! Where to begin, where to begin?! Well, first off, it's been a very long week. As in, a VERYYYYY long week. That said, I'm happy to be back on your computer screen...very happy, indeed.
This past week has been an interesting one. If you don't know this about me already, then let me tell you that after two years at New York University, I decided it was in my best interest to transfer to the University of Maryland. I knew I wasn't happy at NYU, and I knew that, unless I took some sort of action, things weren't going to change. Whereas I thought my transferring to UMD meant that I would get to spend more time with my family (something I desperately wanted and perhaps even needed), the way things actually panned out was very different.
A few months into my Junior year (my first year at UMD), my parents moved to Florida. Now, my mother and I constantly argue about this particular subject (so mom, if you're reading this please don't take it personally. Oh, and I love you. A lot.) but my feeling is that, at the time I transferred universities, I really needed my parents. One of my closest friends had tried to commit suicide, I was just starting to make headway in my battle with bulimia, and I was a lost and lonely individual. I get that my parents wanted to move on with their lives (they had just finished dealing with their own issues), but had I known that they were going to pack up and move the second I moved back to my hometown, then I probably wouldn't have transferred...at least not to UMD that is. Nonetheless, if there is something that I have learned over the years, it's that there's no point in dwelling on the past because, let's face it, dwelling on the past won't do diddily squat for your present or your future. That said, I have also learned that if I feel a certain way, regardless of it's level of rationality, I have to honor the fact that that's how I feel.
In response to my transferring universities, I must admit that, to this day, I still feel as though I downgraded myself. I had gotten into NYU, was a double major, and then decided to throw all of that away so that I could move back home to be near mommy and daddy. And then, when mommy and daddy moved, it was really like I had thrown everything away because now I had nothing. I felt as though I was back where I started, only this time, instead of attending a prestigious university, I was at state school. In fact, I think this has a lot to do with why I pushed myself to graduate in three and a half years (with a sh*t ton of excess credits, mind you), because I think in some way, it was my personal way of "making up" for the fact that I had downgraded myself when I transferred. Now, with all of that said, let me back up and tell you the following: by no means do I think that the University of Maryland is a bad school. It's quite the opposite actually.
In comparing the degree of difficulty from my classes at NYU to those I took at UMD, I must tell you, the latter was harder. Then again, perhaps I feel this way because I didn't like the formality of UMD's curriculum. It was rigid, boring, heavy on "busy work," and all in all, very much what one could/would/and should expect from a state school. On the other hand, NYU's curriculum seemed, I don't know, more relavent. It didn't matter that I was pursuing some random double degree (a BA in journalism and a BS in food studies, should you be at all curious). At NYU, the material was predominately taught by adjunct professors who also worked in the industry that they themselves were teaching. They knew what emerging graduates would need to know in order to excel in the modern version of the field at hand. They knew how to eliminate the textbook while feeding you the facts. UMD?...not so much. But enough about college curriculum, and back to what this article was supposed to be about: this week has been an interesting one...for an array of reasons.
This past week, my friends from NYU graduated. This past weekend, my friends from UMD graduated. This past week and weekend, I have not been able to go on Facebook and look at the pictures on my newsfeed without feeling. Yes, just that: "feeling." Sometimes I feel anger--mad at myself for transfering. Other times I feel joy--happy that I was able to grab my life by the horns and get out of a school that, despite providing a great education, left me feeling alone and unheard. And then there are the times I log onto Facebook, I see these photos, and I think: What would have happened had I not transferred? How would my life be different? Well, for starters, I'm almost positive that I wouldn't be the happy girl that I am today. I was lost and lonely at NYU. I might not have loved my time at UMD, but I loved that I was able to find myself, re-connect with my religion ("challah" at my fellow Jews in da hizzy....yeah, I'm so white it's not even funny), and, most importantly, find my way to the BF (who, despite transferring from UMD to NYU--our time at NYU overlapped--I might have otherwise never met).
All in all, I guess you could say that everything ended up falling into place. Yes at times I am still frustrated by my decision to transfer schools, but let's face it: my transferring schools wound up transforming me. Had I stayed at NYU, sure I would have been able to wear that purple gown in Yankee Stadium and walk across the stage in Radio City Music Hall, but I wouldn't have been the "me" that I am today--and in all seriousness, I think I turned out pretty darn well...minus the small ego trip I just sent myself on. And, while my life has not exactly been the journey my elementary school self thought it would be, the truth of the matter is, I wouldn't change a thing...the absurd level of cheesiness in that last line included.
Hello, hello! I would say “Happy Monday,” but I feel like the following is more appropriate:
…my thoughts exactly. Moving on.
In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about a Rolling Stone magazine article I read this past weekend: “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses,” by Janet Reitman. Summarizing ex-Dartmouth student Andrew Lohse's journey from frat-boy to "passionate reformer," my takeaway from Reitman's article, unlike most, had little to do with the article's depiction of outrageous fraternity hazing; instead focusing on Lohse himself and the telling signs of his malevolent, fame-seeking, "wannabe" behavior. This is because, whereas I think it is of great importance that we, as a society that praises the ivy's and the kids who go there, hear about the disturbingly gruesome hazing experiences described in this article, I believe it is of even greater importance that we, as members of said society, learn how to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives--a lesson Lohse, like many, have yet to internalize.
Nonetheless, as I said yesterday, rather than attack Lohse, let us learn from him and his actions ...or lack thereof.
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."
- Samuel Johnson
"He who who hesitates is lost"
- Joseph Addison
"He who stands for nothing will fall for anything"
- Alexander Hamilton
"He who seeks for applause only from without has all his happiness in another's keeping."
- Oliver Goldsmith
Readers,I highly suggest you read (or at least skim) this
Rolling Stone magazine article (found here) as a means of obtaining the most out of the post below. Furthermore, should you want to begin a discussion on the matter, and therefore wish to comment, I ask that you respect my opinion, stated below, as well as the thoughts, suggestions, and ideas of each others' opinions. Thanks.- Lindsay ***
If you were to ask me what magazines I read and/or like, Rolling Stone
magazine would not be one of them. Cosmopolitan
? Yes. Time Magazine
? Yes. Rolling Stone
? Not so much. Nonetheless, when the BF emailed me the other day, the subject line reading “you MUST read this,” I quickly found myself being sucked into t
his culturally iconic web venue
as I could not get over journalist Janet Reitman’s pure gift for writing an enjoyable, yet hard-hitting piece of journalism. Then again, Reitman’s topic of interest is far from boring: “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses”…especially for someone such as myself.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, allow me to let you in on a little secret: I was never a sorority girl. I was also never a very school-spirited girl. What can I say, I’m just not wired that way. Nonetheless, and I say it all the time: “different strokes for different folks.” Furthermore, just because I’m not into the whole Greek life thing doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the secure college community that fraternities and sororities offer. I do. But like I said, back in the day, it just wasn’t for me…and now I know why.
Discussing Dartmouth’s “perpetuating [frat] culture” that ex-Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) brother Andrew Lohse describes as consisting of “’pervasive hazing, substance abuse and sexual assault’ as well as an ‘intoxicating nihilism’ that dominates campus social life,” Reitman’s article is far from censored. In fact, a vast majority of her article is spent describing the gruesome hazing experiences that pledges, such as Lohse himself, had to endure as a means of entrance into this world of frat-star superficiality: “[pledges must] swim in a kiddie pool of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beer poured down fellow pledges’ ass cracks…among other abuses.” And while reading about such hazing, while disgusting, is far from eye-opening on its own, it is in fact Lohse’s path to outing Dartmouth Greek life that remains of central Quote I Wrote
Described as “a highly self-aware young man who nonetheless came to Dartmouth filled with what he now sees as stupid ideas,” Andrew Lohse plays the role of protagonist, so to speak, in this article that outlines Lohse’s journey from a New Jersey high school overachiever; to college-age, drug-using party boy; to a now confused individual who remains part victim, part wannabe hero. Essentially attempting to “reform [Greek life from] the inside,” Lohse—who, at the time, was on a one-year suspension for snorting coke (which he believes to be an undeserved punishment filled with “hypocrisy”)—tells Reitman about how he met with Dartmouth’s chief of staff and associate dean for campus life, providing “the school officials with a ‘dossier of fraternity-hazing and substance-abuse-related information.’” Nonetheless, when said meeting failed to produce the type of action-filled results Lohse desired, Lohse attempted to take his role as a “reformer” to the next level by going to the media. Unfortunately for him, his failure to do so—because “[he] wasn’t ready” and “wanted to go back to Dartmouth and return to [his] fraternity and party”—proves less of an excuse and more of a divulging exposé; especially seeing how Lohse, who indeed returned to Dartmouth for his junior year, only withdrew from the “Big Green” and SAE when he was faced with a second arrest, this time for disorderly conduct.
Upon returning to his mother’s house, the place where he currently resides, Andrew Lohse began to configure this idea of writing an editorial that would essentially air all of SAE’s dirty laundry. Coming forward about the significant hazing practices that take place at fraternities, Lohse states that he feels “making these issues front and center is a very positive thing to do.” Nevertheless, during a recent at-home interview, Lohse revealed to Reitman that “[he] read a lot of Fitzgerald before [he went] to college,” and further admits that, while in college, he wanted to be “like that. [He wanted to be] a character.” Going on to say “it wasn’t really [him],” Lohse argues that he admired (and still admires) Fitzgerald and therefore “took the idea of creating [a false] identity really seriously.” Yet Lohse, who has only been away form Dartmouth for a few months now, claims that it was only when he realized he couldn’t be this "character" that he was able to move forward and become a changed man, as he so eloquently puts it. That said, I still find it difficult to believe that Lohse is sincere about his desires to enact hazing reform.
While I have no doubt that Lohse’s depiction of frat life is true, I can’t help but feel as if his reasoning for “coming forward” about Dartmouth’s Greek life was less about “taking a stand” and “being him,” and more about “wanting self-pity.” Now, do I think Lohse consciously knows that he was doing this for self-pity? No. I do, however, believe that Lohse thoroughly enjoys the fact that so many have come to his defense and verbalized their respective sympathies for him and his “situation.” Moreover, I think Lohse takes great pleasure in said public respondance seeing how, as one frat bro puts it, “Andrew was a polarizing figure form day one.” Nonetheless, it once again appears as if his “coming forward” on this issue of fraternity hazing is, to some degree, Lohse’s version of a retaliation tactic (i.e. you tried to f*ck with me, so now I'm going to bring you down with me). And while it seems as if Andrew Lohse will never be fully able to let go of his self-pitying mindset and accept responsibility for the wrongdoings of his past (and potential future), it does seem as if we--as outsiders looking in--can learn from Lohse's limitations.
I mentioned earlier that Lohse admired F. Scott Fitzgerald, modeling himself after the characters of Fitzgerald's tales. Nonetheless, perhaps it was Fitzgerald himself who Lohse should
have idolized and attempted to embody. Saying: "I hope you live a life you are proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again," Fitzgerald makes it clear that he himself believes in living an authentic life that we as individuals can be proud to call our own.
That said, while there is clearly A LOT more to be said about this subject, I must tell you that you are going to have to wait until tomorrow to read the rest of this post. In the mean time, PLEASE share with me your thoughts on Lohse, Greek life, and/or Fitzgerald's quote. I am beyond excited to get a real discussion brewing here on The Quote I Wrote
. Later, everyone!
**TO BE CONTINUED...**